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N52670 accident description

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Tail numberN52670
Accident dateJune 13, 2009
Aircraft typeCessna 177 Rg
LocationGilford, NH
Near 43.565278 N, -71.446944 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 13, 2009, about 1614 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177RG, N52670, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in a hotel parking lot in Gilford, New Hampshire, shortly after takeoff. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which departed Laconia Municipal Airport (LCI), Laconia, New Hampshire about 1612 with an intended destination of Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine with two intermediate stops at Eastern Slopes Regional Airport (IZG), Fryeburg, Maine, and Wiscasset Airport (IWI), Wiscasset, Maine. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The flight had arrived at LCI on May 31, 2009 to undergo an annual inspection which was accomplished as part of a pre-purchase inspection of the airplane. The previous owner flew the airplane to the maintenance facility and the new owner, which was the accident pilot, was to pick up the airplane upon the completion of the inspection. The annual inspection was accomplished utilizing the Cessna Annual or 100 Hour Aircraft Inspection Report which consisted of a power plant inspection, propeller inspection, as well as an overall aircraft and flight controls inspections. The accident pilot had also requested that the windshield be replaced. All of the inspections and discrepancies were complied with and the airplane's airframe, propeller, and engine logbook were signed off to be in an airworthy condition by the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic with an Inspection Authorization (IA).

The fixed base operator lineman, at the airport, that had pulled the airplane out of the hangar witnessed the pilot attempt to start the airplane several times over a period of approximately 5 minutes. He also reported that the engine "backfired or popped" twice, however the engine started and the pilot began his taxi out. The lineman returned to his work and did not observe the airplane taxi out to the runway.

Numerous eyewitnesses that observed the accident reported that there was "no engine noise." The airplane struck an approximate 55 foot tall tree with the left wing and the left horizontal stabilizer, shearing off the stabilizer which was located on the lower branches of the tree. The airplane was then observed banking to the right and then rolling wings level, just prior to impacting the second tree near ground level. Several of the witnesses reported seeing "large quantities of fuel" coming out of the wings and seeing smoke from the engine area.

An on scene investigation by the Safety Board revealed that from the first tree strike to the accident airplane was 121 feet and was oriented on a 289 degree heading. The cockpit section of the airplane aft of the firewall to the rudder was oriented on a 332 degree heading and the engine was found rotated approximately 80 degrees to the right of the longitudinal center line of the airplane. Both wings exhibited leading edge crushing. The right wing had impact damage similar in dimensions to the last tree the airplane struck, the right wing flap was found fully extended but moved freely on the tracks. The tail section was bent up just aft of the baggage compartment and the bottom of the rudder was resting on the hood of a parked car. The left wing was bent downward starting at the inboard portion of the aileron and extending outward with the wing tip resting on the pavement of the parking lot. The left wing flap was found in the fully retracted position. Flight control continuity was verified to all flight control surfaces from the cockpit as well as to the fracture point on the left horizontal stabilizer. The main landing gear was found in the up and locked position and the nose landing gear was in the unlocked down position. All of the engine mounts had been fractured and the engine was attached to the firewall by components of the engine. There was no rotational scoring on the propeller blades or the spinner. The forward door post of the right side passenger door was crushed aft. During the examination of the cockpit area the throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were found in the full forward position. The flap selector was found with a 10 degree flap setting and the flap indicator indicated 20 degrees of flaps, however the flap drive mechanism was found with an indication of 4 inches which correlates to a flap retracted setting. During the examination of the engine approximately 2 ounces of oil was extracted from the engine oil system. The oil filter was attached to the rear of the engine case and had an install date of June 1, 2009 written on it. The engine had a fracture that went around the entire longitudinal axis of the engine; however there was no evidence of oil in the vicinity of the fracture.

The pilot, age 50, held an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, with a rating for airplane multi-engine land and a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on December 5, 2008. At that time, the pilot reported a total flight time of 6,820 hours.

The airplane was manufactured in 1977 and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6D engine. The most recent annual inspection was accomplished on June 12, 2009 with 4,637.8 hours total time in service on the airframe. The engine was factory overhauled and installed in the accident airplane in May, 2002 and at the last annual inspection had a total time in service of 237.8 hours. The recorded hours at the time of the accident was 4,638.0 total hours on the airframe.

The recorded weather observation at LGI, at 1615, included wind from 310 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 miles, a few clouds at 10,000 feet above ground level, temperature 25 degrees C, dew point 9 degrees C; altimeter 29.89 inches of mercury.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.